The U.K.’s digital buyer penetration is the highest in Western Europe (86%) (source: Pfsweb). In 2017, e-Commerce will continue to grow towards becoming the first channel for buying customers and comparing users alike. Therefore, it is essential you consider these 6 trends and innovations that will change the way we do online business in 2017 and adapt your strategy to propel your sales in the coming year!
2017 is the year in which retailers need to fully embrace digital commerce in order to thrive. Today’s consumer owns several devices —smartphone, tablet, desktop— and expects an online shopping experience that’s quick, easy, and, above all, user friendly. We have put together a list of 6 ways you can enhance your customer experience and secure your conversions this year:
A great user experience starts with fast loading pages
The faster your site loads, the more you convert! Today, our customers browse around the net to quickly find what they are looking for. We are constantly on the go and this pace is not going to slow down in 2017. 40% of e-shoppers will leave a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load! (Source: Kissmetrics). Knowing that search engines also consider loading time when ranking your site, it is essential your store loads fastest on the net to secure your traffic and conversions. Regularly auditing your site’s content for loading time, or asking an expert to look at your store’s performances can point you in the right optimisation directions. Your store’s design, your images, and descriptions all play a role in optimising your site loading speed.
Delivering the best user experience across all connected devices
Mobile traffic for e-Commerce is on the rise as opposed to desktops. A study by Capgemini and IMRG reveals that mobiles and tablets now account for more than half of all online sales in the UK! The customer expects mobile store loading time to be just as great as the desktop version, but more importantly, it expects to find what it is looking for even faster. Make sure your mobile version is set up and apply the filters to your products’ different facets so your customers can easily find the product they need, in the right size, colour or fabric. Keep in mind that leading search engines consider mobile friendliness when ranking your site as to them, user experience is key to conversions too!
First experiences last
92% of Internet users regularly read product reviews and comments from other buyers. This is because uncertainty is a enormous impediment to online commerce. Simple product descriptions are great for selling a book or a music CD, but after books and CD’s, now consumer electronics, toys, fashion, and even furniture and machinery for businesses are available online and they are more complex and need more than a just beautiful image to appeal to the consumer. A product description for these products must create more than a first impression, it should be a first experience. E-Commerce players need to come up with solutions that replace the offline retail experience where the customers can talk to the shop owner and ask for an explanation or touch and try out products. In the future new technologies like virtual dressing rooms or virtual reality will be adopted to become major trends in e-Commerce, but these developments are currently still too premature for mass adoption. This year though we will see product descriptions with embedded product videos that will take the customer experience to the next level. When you start shooting your product videos there are no limitations. Be it creative, funny, or more conventional, your video must obey one rule only: It must enhance your customers’ buying experience!
Have a look at how Commencal gives its customers a taste of what riding their bikes might feel like:
Fast and easy payment solutions
In 2016, VISA gave its sponsored athletes a ring that allowed them to pay by tapping it on the payment terminals in shops! Today consumers can already make many purchases and transactions without ever taking out their wallets. Mobile payment solutions will spell the end of the traditional wallet for many in 2017, especially since now mobile payments are more and more possible using watches, rings, and other devices and connected wearables. Making sure your store has a one-click-payment method set-up in both desktop and mobile version is one sure way stay ahead of the competition and prepares your e-Commerce for exiting future payment solutions.
The social media buying experience
In 2017 shoppers will more and more turn to social media to find product reviews, customer reviews and business locations. Artificial intelligence will also embark on social media: Although social media was designed to enable online interaction with friends and family, now we are becoming more accustomed to interacting with chatbots on Facebook, twitter Whatsapp and Google Allo. These Chatbots are designed to engage with customers in real-time and ask all the appropriate questions regarding customer service, shopping and bookings!
Also, several social media networks have been developing increased selling options such as “buy now” buttons or ways to promote product descriptions using images only. When tapping into the potential of social selling, brands will see sales increase, and even see products go viral on these platforms. A clear and well-designed social media marketing strategy plan is a must in 2017. Be active on social media, stay close to your customers and make sure your customers recommend your products, because there is no better advertisement than word-of-mouth!
Fast and same day delivery
In 2017, many people will receive their first same-day delivery, be it at home, at work, or at a drop-off point of their choosing. A Forrester report indicates that 29% of customers would be willing to pay extra for same-day delivery. Amazon has recently delivered its first package by drone, and although the logistics and feasibility of these futuristic delivery options are still unsure, many parcel couriers are considering and will be developing new and innovative means of delivery this year. Parcel-lockers, fitting-hubs or drop-off points; keep your eyes and mind open to these new delivery trends for the coming year.